Friday, 17 April 2009

Getting your invention on to the market - information to get you started

You’ve come up with an idea for a new product and you’re convinced it’s got potential. What do you do?

Have you considered whether you can protect it? Is it worth protecting? We can provide you with information on patents, trade marks, registered designs and copyright which may help you decide.

Are you intending to produce the product yourself or are you hoping to sell or licence the product to someone else to produce? Many people choose this latter option, thinking it is the easiest. However, it is a mistake to think that your product will “sell itself”, no matter how good it may be. The chances of you attracting the interest of a producer / distributor is likely to be much greater if you can show that you have done some background research and can back your claims up with facts. Remember that the company will judge you as much as your invention. You need to consider the following key areas:

The ability to demonstrate how the product will benefit the customer and the producer / distributor
What makes your product unique
Is there a gap in the market?

Never rely on opinions of family or friends – they will tell you what you want to hear, rather than what you need to hear.

Research your market. It is unlikely that anyone will take you seriously if you are not familiar with what is out there now. Never assume that there is bound to be a market for your product – you need to show that there is a demand.

How we can help you – We have access to one of the largest public library collections of market research reports which can provide you with the information you need to determine where your market lies, how strong it is, buying habits of potential customers and future market prospects.

Back up your findings with statistics. Apart from those gathered from market reports there are a number of sources of statistics which could help to strengthen your case. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/ covers the economy, population and society and can be broken down into local areas. Leeds economic and social statistics can be found at http://www.leeds.gov.uk/ and http://statistics.leeds.gov.uk/

Find out as much as you can about the companies you’re dealing with - whether it’s a competitor or someone you’re hoping to sell / licence your invention to. What products are they developing now?

Don’t always go for the company which is the market leader. They are often least likely to be willing to deal with inventors. Small companies can often exploit niche markets where larger companies can not.

How we can help you – We can provide a tailor made mailing list focusing upon companies in key industries, target companies of a particular size and in key geographical locations. We can also help you research potential partners credit ratings, access any county court judgements and provide full financial reports.

Check to see if the company already has any existing patents. See our information on patent searching.

Maintain an awareness of current issues and events in your area of interest. Checking newspapers and the internet can keep you up to date with issues which could affect the chances of completing a successful agreement with a company.

How we can help you – we can access databases which contain thousands of articles from newspapers and specialist trade journals. A comprehensive list of web sites listing companies by industries is available at www.leeds.gov.uk/weblinks

Check out any publications or trade associations specifically related to the market you hope to sell your product in. They may reveal information on companies and issues which are not highlighted elsewhere.

How we can help you - A large number of business journals and directories are held within the department often concentrating on a particular field eg “Food Trade Directory” and “Furniture & Furnishing Directory”. Trade associations can be found at http://www.taforum.org/

Look at funding opportunities. Grants may be available through various organisations.

There is never a guarantee of success but the more information you gather, the better chance you’re likely to have of convincing someone that your product is worthwhile.

For more information see the “Getting your product on to the market” section of our web-site, or contact us:
BUSINESS AND PATENT INFORMATION SERVICES
2nd Floor, Central Library
Calverley Street
Leeds LS1 3AB
t. 0113 2478266
f. 0113 2478268
Email piu@leeds.gov.uk
http://www.businessandpatents.org